Interview with Ali Keles in Algemeen Dagblad

Angelique Mulders

Interviewer Algemeen Dagblad

Parts of the interview:

The new depot in Rotterdam is packed with works of art stored by Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen and large companies such as KPN and Rabobank. Plus: the collection of Ali Keles (38), an 'ordinary' Rotterdam entrepreneur and art collector. With a beautiful life story.

“This is the best view from the depot. You can see the museum with the historic tower, but also the Erasmus Bridge.” Ali Keles still intensely enjoys his place on the fourth floor of the collection building.

Not only does the founder-owner of Lakeside Capital Partners safely store his more than 80 contemporary works of art in the collection building, he also displays them. Now, for example, by well-known names in the art world such as Iván Navarro, Hans Op de Beeck and Jacco Olivier. And then this enthusiast also provides a young artist, Marloes Roeper, with a workplace. She is allowed to work in 'his part' of the Depot as an artist in residence.


,,At the Erasmiaans Gymnasium, now pretty much next to the Depot, I got some of it. I remember seeing slides of ancient art and being allowed to guess when it was made. I enthusiastically participated; I was often right with my guesses.”

Art collector

“You don't get it overnight. It's a development in yourself."

It was the father of his bosom friend Mark Mouthaan, met while studying law, who gave him an important insight. ,,His father Floor was chairman of the board of PAN (an art fair in Amsterdam, ed.) and it was 17, 18 years ago my first visit to an art fair ever. It gave a feeling of tension, of enthusiasm. I was really triggered and kept going to art fairs afterwards as well. It was there that I actually learned that art isn't just for museums. It was never really in my head before that you could collect it yourself."

And also in the Kunsthal, in his own city, Keles learned a lesson. In 2011, he visited the exhibition I promise to love you: all works of art that were owned by Joop van Caldenborgh, at the time director-owner of the Rotterdam-based chemical group Caldic.

Free expression

Buying art Keles calls social responsibility. “The free expression of artists, people who record a certain period and reflect on it, is important. And that is why it is important to buy their work, because artists also have to make a living from something. I don't think it's enough to just find it beautiful and look at it."

It's not about possession. “For me, buying art is mainly about preserving it for the future. To preserve it."

To read the full interview:

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Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen was officially opened on November 5ᵗʰ 2021, by His Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen was officially openend on November 5ᵗʰ 2021, by His Majesty Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands. Lakeside Collection’s private compartment, including artist-in-residence, exhibition space, board room and storage, was for this occasion visited by His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Mayor of Rotterdam Ahmed Aboutaleb, architect Winy Maas, directors of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Sjarel Ex and Ina Klaassen.

Marloes Roeper (winner Lakeside Collection Award 2021, first artist-in-residence beneficiary) and Ali Keles (Founder and Chairman Lakeside Collection) jointly welcomed the delegation.

For this occasion the television program EenVandaag broadcasted a news item on the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Video registration of the opening of the depot by King Willem-Alexander.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Director Sjarel Ex and Founding Chairman of Lakeside Collection Ali Keles signed a long term lease agreement on October 7ᵗʰ 2021, by which Lakeside Collection commits to a private compartment in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Director Sjarel Ex and Founding Chairman of Lakeside Collection Ali Keles signed a long term lease agreement on October 7ᵗʰ 2021, by which Lakeside Collection commits to a private compartment in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Lakeside Collection is proud and grateful to collaborate with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In 2021 the collection moved to its private compartment in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen, including an exhibition space, artist-in-residence, a storage area, and board room, which are 173 m² spaces in total.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is the first publicly accessible museum depot in the world, which houses the entire 151.000 artworks of the collection. On November 5th 2021 the Depot will be officially openend by his Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The continuation of the relationship originates from the desire to support the museum and further grow the Lakeside Collection in an inspiring and flourishing environment.

Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen has been chosen for the professionality and controlled environment, not only in terms of security but also for the excellent physical conditions under which the artworks will be kept with care by museum experts for restoration and maintenance.

Marloes Roeper (graduate of HKU, Utrecht) has been awarded the first Lakeside Collection Award. The selection was amongst 26 talented artists selected for the Best of Graduates 2021 by the Ron Mandos Young Blood Foundation

Marloes Roeper (HKU graduate) has been awarded the first Lakeside Collection Award. The selection was amongst 26 talented artists selected for the Best of Graduates 2021 by the Ron Mandos Young Blood Foundation.

Recently, the Lakeside Collection Award has been founded and for the first three years the collection is committed to presenting the award to one of the participants of the Best Graduates exhibition, organized annually by Galerie Ron Mandos and supported by the Ron Mandos Young Blood Foundation. We admire both the gallery and the foundation for supporting young artists unconditionally. The winner of our award will be given an artist in residence program, including financial support and guidance during this period. We hope to create a long term relationship with the artists.

Motivation by the jury (Erik Paol, Tomáš Libertíny and Ali Keles) of Lakeside Collection Award 2021:

“The jury has great admiration for all students who were hindered by COVID19 in their interaction with others during their last two years of study. But the results were astonishing. We saw a level in three candidates that touched us unanimously and therefor nominated for the Lakeside Collection Award. That was the case with the paintings by Tian Teng and Marloes Roeper and with the photos by Esmee van Zeeventer. After a long neck-and-neck race with Esmee van Zeventer, the jury chose Marloes Roeper.

Marloes Roeper knows how to achieve maximum effects with minimal resources. Her quick brushstrokes and her color schemes show bravado and have a direct effect on the senses. It mysteriously stimulates the sense of space. Marloes can make the world seem simple in an instant and you hardly know how she succeeds. But the joy in painting is clearly visible and contagious.

We therefore believe that a graduate with the daring and open-mindedness of Marloes Roeper holds a promise for the future. By awarding the Lakeside Collection Award, the jury wants to challenge her to show more. We hope with the Award to support her further professionalization and to offer her a success factor that she deserves at this point in her career.

Concerning co-nominated Esmee van Zeeventer, the Lakeside Collection has decided to include one of her works in the collection.”

For more information:


RM Sunday Session program about "The Future of the Arts"

In light of the Lakeside Collection Award ceremony, Founder and Chairman of the Lakeside Collection, Ali Keles participated as one of the guests in the RM Sunday Session program about "the Future of the Arts", speaking about working with young artists and how to support their future endeavours.

Q.: What is the role of the Lakeside Collection in working with young artists and supporting their future endeavors? Can you also tell me more about your new residence program?

A.: Actually it is not only a matter of age, supporting an artist can be in any stage of their life. Lakeside Collection embraces a humanistic perspective and wishes (young) artists to continue their personal and artistic development. Creating an environment where artists can express themselves in freedom is of great importance. Society has always been connected to art throughout its history. Art is the reflection of social awareness and conscience. It exposes the ideas, feelings, and concepts that we all live in. Overthinking existential questions and pursuing to find answers where art is a source of inspiration. A purpose of the collection is to open a door for society in order to promote self-growth and enlightenment.

Q.: What is the most important lesson you, as a collector, want to pass on to young artists? How can you prepare them for the future?

A.: It is important to have a strong believe in yourself and what you do. History teaches us that not all artists and their artworks were acknowledged during their lives, although we would wish differently. Therefore, don’t give up on your dreams, also when your artworks are not directly understood and get immediate positive reactions. Embrace negative criticism, be open for development. Follow your heart and don’t underestimate the importance of a strong work ethic. Focus on quality rather than on volume. Gather and foster a group of ambassadors and supporters, including advisors. Take your time, be patient, there is no rush neither competition with others. We all walk our own special path.

To read the full Q&A:

In collaboration with artist Tomáš Libertíny, Lakeside Bee Farm has been constructed at the premises of Lakeside Capital Partners’ headquarters in Rotterdam

In collaboration with artist Tomáš Libertíny, Lakeside Bee Farm has been constructed at the premises of Lakeside Capital Partners’ headquarters in Rotterdam.

By starting the Lakeside Bee Farm, a special project has been realized considering the importance of maintaning and growing the worldwide population of bees, which are recently suffered through colony collapse disorder. Lakeside Capital Partners’ management highly values and aims to contribute to circular economy, the environment, sustainability and arts & culture. The Latter, is being supported via the Lakeside Collection and Keles Foundation.

The long term relationship between the artist, Tomáš Libertíny and Lakeside Capital Partner’s Managing Partner, Ali Keles, created a fruitful foundation for this longterm partnership, which enables the artist to sculpture in collaboration with bees at the Lakeside Bee Farm in Rotterdam. Together with the engagement of renowned beekeeper, René Kant, the Lakeside Bee Farm’s colonies, which consist of approximately 300.000 bees, are being maintained.

Currently living and working in Rotterdam, through his art, Tomáš Libertíny continually explores the beauty and intelligence of nature as well as probing into the existential questions of the human mind.

For more information on the works of Tomáš Libertíny:

Ali Keles, Founder and Chairman of the Lakeside Collection, has been installed as Board Member of the Netherlands Association of Corporate Art Collections

Ali Keles, Founder and Chairman of the Lakeside Collection, has been installed as Board Member of the Netherlands Association of Corporate Art Collections (VBCN).

The VBCN is an independent, non-profit knowledge network for Dutch companies and public and semi-public institutions with a policy of building art collections. Its members bring a large and diverse audience in contact with art and forge new connections between art and society. This makes the VBCN a distinctive player in the world of culture.

The VBCN encourages artistic activities, and helps companies and public and semi-public institutions to develop the best possible policy for building their collections. The association initiates debate and research. It provides a forum where members can share expertise and work together to enhance the visibility and dynamism of their holdings. In this way the VBCN increases its members' expertise and contributes to a vibrant artistic and cultural climate in the Netherlands.

For more information:

Interview with Ali Keles in Het Parool

Oscar van Gelderen & Manuela Klerkx

Interviewer Het Parool – Gallery Viewer

Parts of the interview:

What does art mean to you?

For me, art is a form of freedom, a way to get out of the everyday concrete reality and to gain experiences in a more abstract way. Art invites one to critical thinking and is a form of recording the reflection of our social consciousness and conscience.

Were you exposed to art while growing up?

Apart from visiting museums, there was not necessarily an active and conscious focus on arts at home. The real start of the development in art came later when I visited the opening of the PAN art fair at the invitation of my close friend Mark Mouthaan and his father Floor. Mainly by looking and experiencing a lot, I slowly but surely found my way.

How often do you buy art each year?

This depends entirely on what is happening during the year, on the works you come across and those of artists you have been working on for some time. In recent years, we have built up a corporate collection, called the Lakeside Collection, and we have become a member of the Netherlands Association of Corporate Art Collections.

Is it important that you and your partner always agree on a purchase?

I am free to make purchases as I see fit; privately too because there is no partner in the picture. For my private collection for the corporate collection, I am advised by an art consultant. Like a love affair, however, when it comes to art it starts with falling in love.

To read the full interview:

Dutch version:

English version:

Interview with Ali Keles in Art Index Rotterdam

Erika Vati

Interviewer Art Index Rotterdam

Parts of the interview:

What is the main motivation, what is the main reason you collect art?

It is like a love story. When you see an artwork that you like, from that moment a relationship starts between you and the artwork. And then you start to feel the urge to have it close to you. Obviously, it is visual but in my case, I tend to be attracted by the story behind. An artwork on its own can be very beautiful or interesting but the story behind keeps me hooked.

Who inspires you in the art world? Who influenced you as a collector?

I would say the Caldic Collection, which later became the Museum Voorlinden. I was totally impressed by an exhibition called “I promise to love you” curated from the Caldic Collection in Kunsthal in 2011. The founder is a good example of a businessman who built up an enormous and amazing quality art collection. I believe Voorlinden was probably inspired by the Beyeler Foundation near Basel because it has a similar set up. The founder of the Beyeler Foundation was an extraordinary gallerist who was also the co-founder of Art Basel. These are the people who inspire the world and also me. But artists also do, and having a relationship with artists creates the wish to collect art. I could list many more but in the end you need to choose your own path and style and develop a certain taste.

Where would you like to see the Rotterdam art world growing?

I was born and raised in Rotterdam so obviously I would like to see Rotterdam become a hub, a place where, internationally, people are willing to come and see art. I think we have done very well with the new “Depot” of Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum which has already raised huge attention internationally. It was on the front page of important newspapers like the New York Times. It is an enormous job, what Sjarel Ex and his team did with the help of sponsors and the municipality. To make a museum collection visible as a whole and to be able to walk through it from below surface to the top floor—it’s an impressive achievement. It’s a ground-breaking approach to make a museum collection completely transparent, conserving it and at the same time showing it. Also, for us collectors there will be the possibility to rent a space and publicly show our private collection. It’s really fascinating. It’s a big step for the art scene here. Well done Rotterdam!

To read the full interview:

In August 2020, Art Index Rotterdam visited Lakeside Collection as part of their Art Around Town bike tours

In August 2020, Art Index Rotterdam visited Lakeside Collection as part of their Art Around Town bike tours.

Rotterdam based exhibition listing calendar Art Index Rotterdam focuses on contemporary art galleries, institutions and project spaces in Rotterdam. Their initiative Art Around Town enhances the cultural experience, as people bike around town and engage in the local scenery of Rotterdam.

The Visitors were given a tour around the collection and engaged in arts-related conversations with representatives of the collection. In addition, they managed to contemplate about the sculpture Bust Chair made by artist Tomáš Libertíny. The artist was also present and discussed his projects and works that are part of the Lakeside Collection, at the premises of "Villa Lakeside".

Lakeside Collection joins the exhibition Unlocked/Reconnected

Lakeside Collection takes a part in Unlocked/Reconnected exhibition at the premisses of Lakeside Capital Partners in Rotterdam. Artwork shown is the ‘Bust Chair’ by Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny. Besides showing the artwork 12 conversations will be held and recorded with interesting guests out of the Dutch art world, so called ‘Bust Chair Conversations’. Contemplating and looking ahead after reopening and starting life and participation in the world.

Unlocked/Reconnected is an initiative that brings together a wide range of 'houses for art': museums, institutes for presentation, galleries, artists' initiatives, and corporate collections. The point of departure for Unlocked/Reconnected is the idea of solidarity, the will to reflect collectively on what home is. Our world must not become fragmented, fractured into enclosing walls: a consolidation of forces and locations, national and international, can in fact show us what the house/home can mean. As an initiative Unlocked/Reconnected stems from a sense that opening up the home, in the aftermath of the lockdown, will force us to reconsider our outlook on this. Unlocked/Reconnected underlines the importance of art and culture in this period of global crisis.

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